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Demand for Christmas decorations rising as holiday spirit spreads in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday, December 20, 2019, 13:55 GMT+7
Demand for Christmas decorations rising as holiday spirit spreads in Ho Chi Minh City
Residents take photos with Christmas decorations in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

As Christmas nears in Ho Chi Minh City, local families and businesses are shelling out millions to billions of Vietnamese dong to ring in the holidays with over-the-top seasonal decorations.

Bookstores, shops, churches, markets, and shopping malls throughout the city are slowly but steadily lighting up embellishments, as the days before the season's greetings dwindle.

On Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5, Mi, the owner of a holiday decoration shop, said that she has seen a boom in sales over the last few days, particularly to wholesale customers.

But the surge in customers has not yet led to an ascent in prices.

Ornaments in Mi’s shop start at just VND3,000 (US$0.13), wreaths go for VND70,000 ($3) to VND250,000 ($10), Christmas bells which include Santa Claus pictures are marked at VND135,000 ($6), and sponge snowmen are sold for VND50,000 ($2.1).

Christmas trees range from VND45,000 ($2) to hundreds of millions of Vietnamese dong, depending on size and material.

Christmas decorations are sold in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Christmas decorations are sold in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Several shops also sell fake pine trees for up to VND1 billion ($43,000), not including VAT.

Meanwhile, real pine trees imported from Europe fetch VND2 million ($86) to VND25 million ($1,000).

Common ornaments include mini blue pine trees, pine trees bound by white and dark violet flowers, and wreaths made from dried oranges and chestnuts.

Deals on decorations are also aplenty throughout the city.

One large florist chain with stores in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and southern Dong Nai Province is offering a discount of VND300,000 ($13) to VND500,000 ($20) for customers who choose delivery dates between December 19 and 22.

Other shops, however, are taking advantage of the holiday spirit to add heavy price tags to imported goods.

Christmas decorations are sold in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Christmas decorations are sold in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Stores specialize in imports from other countries, such as P. Shop in District 3, are selling items like 32-cm high wooden soldiers which can move and play music for nearly VND1.5 million ($64) and strings of Christmas lights for VND1.65 million ($71).

P. Shop also sells pine tree pillowcases for a whopping VND1 million ($43) and a blanket with red holiday patterns for about VND2.8 million ($120).

Decoration service attracts many customers

With more than ten years of experience in offering Christmas decoration services, Le Dinh Thanh, general manager of a design and decoration service company, said this year’s trend is a pastel version of traditional holiday colors.

Currently, decorating a front gate for Christmas using Thanh’s company will set buyers back VND30 million ($1,295) to VND50 million ($2,155).

For those willing to spend even bigger, Thanh will add flying reindeers and present boxes for a grand total of VND150 million ($6,467) to VND200 million ($8,622).

Other packages can cost as much as VND1 billion ($43,000).

A man puts up Christmas decorations in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

A man puts up Christmas decorations in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

As Christmas nears, professional decorators are finding themselves overloaded with business.

Le Van Trong, whose hometown is An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta, has been earning an income hanging LED lights on Christmas trees in District 10 for VND350,000 ($15) for eight hours of work and VND60,000 ($2.5) per hour of overtime.

Competition in the decoration industry is fierce, with several new companies posing as potential customers to research market prices and ideas.

Thus, many enterprises have requested that customers make contact first via email for large contracts.

A Christmas tree is seen outside a shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

A Christmas tree is seen outside a shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Diverse Christmas presents

Currently, many stores are selling Christmas gift baskets filled with traditional holiday delicacies from around the world, including imported drinks, strawberry jam, coffee, fruit candy, chocolates, and cookies shipped from France, England, the U.S., Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Scotland.

These special baskets sell for VND1 million ($43) and up.

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